VOGONS


First post, by DrLucienSanchez

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Hi everyone 😀

I've been using this board on and off for a year with no issues , no instability - P3 550Mhz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 2000 AGP, SB Audigy 2 ZS . Caps look good to me, no bulges, nothing underneath, however I've read a few instances of bad caps on MSI-61** boards, and have heard that those can pop anytime.

I've uploaded few pics of the board, and would like some opinions on this please, if this is safe enough to use a few hours a day, or if the caps are questionable regardless and best to arrange a recap before anything happens

Only branding I can see on one of the smaller caps is - CHHSI, which I've read is not a good sign.

So shall I retire this until a recap is arranged, some say not to bother with a recap until it actually gives issues, but want to keep this board as long as possible.

Regards

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Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 1 of 24, by Warlord

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unless I'm mistaken, I don't see any leaking, bulging, or blown caps. They usually start to bulge when you have a problem. I'm sure somebody will chime in and say something like they are old..and they're probably dried out... You say it's stable than I say its fine.

Reply 2 of 24, by Riikcakirds

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I'm still using mine from 1999, came with a Tiny Computer branded PC (old UK defunct brand).
Motherboard is working fine with original capacitors. The voltage regulator chip goes down to 1.3v so it works with Tualatin mod too. Very stable board and am currently running a PIII-EB 1GHz(board doesn't support 133FSB so it runs at 750MHz under volted to 1.3V - fanless).

One point, the naming of the board claims to be 440BX but they are actually 440ZX. Mine came with the 440BX bios and worked fine. I cleaned it years ago and removed the green heatsink on the northbridge, it was actually 440ZX. Put some thermal compound and popped back the heatsink then reflashed to the ZX Bios. The only practical difference is BX supports ECC sdram memory and ZX doesn't.

Last edited by Riikcakirds on 2022-04-03, 17:30. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 24, by DrLucienSanchez

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Appreciate it - your responses have put my mind at ease at least. Yes, this came also from a Tiny branded PC. I managed to flash the BIOS to the latest, for this this version 1.0 board - AMI - which gave me P3 Katmai support, which I believe the max is 600Mhz, and like your board, if it's not the same, 100FSB only - it's a shame as the Award BIOS version of this board supports larger HDD up to 64-80GB or something like that, and Coppermine as well.

Is it worth me removing the northbridge, cleaning and applying thermal paste?

Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 4 of 24, by aaron158

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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-03, 17:27:

Appreciate it - your responses have put my mind at ease at least. Yes, this came also from a Tiny branded PC. I managed to flash the BIOS to the latest, for this this version 1.0 board - AMI - which gave me P3 Katmai support, which I believe the max is 600Mhz, and like your board, if it's not the same, 100FSB only - it's a shame as the Award BIOS version of this board supports larger HDD up to 64-80GB or something like that, and Coppermine as well.

Is it worth me removing the northbridge, cleaning and applying thermal paste?

most motherboards back then didn't even apply paste from the factory on nb heatsinks some companies didn't even bother to put a heatsink on.

of course it couldn't hurt to put some on

Reply 5 of 24, by Riikcakirds

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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-03, 17:27:

Appreciate it - your responses have put my mind at ease at least. Yes, this came also from a Tiny branded PC. I managed to flash the BIOS to the latest, for this this version 1.0 board - AMI - which gave me P3 Katmai support, which I believe the max is 600Mhz, and like your board, if it's not the same, 100FSB only - it's a shame as the Award BIOS version of this board supports larger HDD up to 64-80GB or something like that, and Coppermine as well.

Is it worth me removing the northbridge, cleaning and applying thermal paste?

I'm not sure what you mean by the bios, I have flashed both types when first testing the board years ago, AMI and Award. Can't remember if I used the flashing utility that came with the bios download or Uniflash. Both might have worked, you can download the binary of Uniflash 1.4 here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20090424231129/ht … e.org/uniflash/

I settled on v1.6 Award bios. Here is an archive link to all the latest Bioses from the MSI site:
https://web.archive.org/web/20010413103026/ht … x/6156/6156.htm

You want either bios file 'w6156v16' for the 440BX chipset or 'w6156zx16' for the 440ZX. Both are identical in functionality. I'm pretty sure your board is ZX chipset like mine even though it says BX on the motherboard.
These boards also DO support Coppermine Pentium III and sets the correct voltages. I checked the vrm mosfets with a multimeter after installing a P3-750 and it was 1.7V. (MSI website says if your mainboard has a blue sticker with the letter "C" located in the I/O chip you have Coppermine support. Well my motherboard doesn't have this sticker and coppermine cpus work fine).

It's worthwhile removing the northbridge heatsink and cleaning the chip. There are plastic plugs on the heatsink you can access from the back of the motherboard, squeeze both inward and then push them through each hole. You can then read the printing on the chip to see if it is a 440BX or 440ZX. Clean the chip and heatsink bottom with some IPA and then use a small blob of thermal compound in the center of the chip, don't spread it. The heatsink will spread it over the chip when you put it back and push the clips down (make sure the arrow clip heads have expanded back through the holes).

Reply 6 of 24, by DrLucienSanchez

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Cool, many thanks your detailed reply. I wasn't aware that I could flash AMI to Award, but every day's a school day. I've removed the Northbridge, it is a BX chipset as indicated on the chip and applied thermal paste as there was none, I've also downloaded the 1.6 Award BIOS and Uniflash, stuck in a folder on the C drive, booted into DOS mode from 98, ran uniflash, but get a message showing - PCI chipset: Intel AGPSet 440BX/ZX - "Sorry but either you don't have a 486+ or CPU is in V86 mode".

Any advice or does this indicate Uniflash is not compatible?

Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 7 of 24, by aaron158

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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-04, 10:14:

Cool, many thanks your detailed reply. I wasn't aware that I could flash AMI to Award, but every day's a school day. I've removed the Northbridge, it is a BX chipset as indicated on the chip and applied thermal paste as there was none, I've also downloaded the 1.6 Award BIOS and Uniflash, stuck in a folder on the C drive, booted into DOS mode from 98, ran uniflash, but get a message showing - PCI chipset: Intel AGPSet 440BX/ZX - "Sorry but either you don't have a 486+ or CPU is in V86 mode".

Any advice or does this indicate Uniflash is not compatible?

for the retail version of the board msi seems to use Award Flash v7.83 for there flashing tool

Reply 8 of 24, by Riikcakirds

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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-04, 10:14:

Cool, many thanks your detailed reply. I wasn't aware that I could flash AMI to Award, but every day's a school day. I've removed the Northbridge, it is a BX chipset as indicated on the chip and applied thermal paste as there was none, I've also downloaded the 1.6 Award BIOS and Uniflash, stuck in a folder on the C drive, booted into DOS mode from 98, ran uniflash, but get a message showing - PCI chipset: Intel AGPSet 440BX/ZX - "Sorry but either you don't have a 486+ or CPU is in V86 mode".

Any advice or does this indicate Uniflash is not compatible?

Emm386 loaded will cause that error. You will need to clean boot to dos to use Uniflash with nothing else loaded apart from command.com. First in windows make a folder called 'update' and unzip uniflash and the bios update to that folder. Then shutdown, you won't need the floppy disk now.
When you first switch on the pc and the bios screen appears keep on pressing F8 until the Win98 startup menu appears. Then hold down shift and press F8, select 'command prompt only' from the menu and then keep pressing 'n' on the keyboard until you get to the command prompt. This will ensure nothing else is loaded.
Type 'cd update' and then type 'uniflash w6156ims.160'
Then select 'Flash bios image to flash rom' when finished exit and turn off PC. Switch the PC back on keep pressing the 'del' key on the keyboard to enter the bios. In the Bios select 'Load Setup Defaults' then save and exit.

Reply 9 of 24, by DrLucienSanchez

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Riikcakirds wrote on 2022-04-07, 19:13:
Emm386 loaded will cause that error. You will need to clean boot to dos to use Uniflash with nothing else loaded apart from comm […]
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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-04, 10:14:

Cool, many thanks your detailed reply. I wasn't aware that I could flash AMI to Award, but every day's a school day. I've removed the Northbridge, it is a BX chipset as indicated on the chip and applied thermal paste as there was none, I've also downloaded the 1.6 Award BIOS and Uniflash, stuck in a folder on the C drive, booted into DOS mode from 98, ran uniflash, but get a message showing - PCI chipset: Intel AGPSet 440BX/ZX - "Sorry but either you don't have a 486+ or CPU is in V86 mode".

Any advice or does this indicate Uniflash is not compatible?

Emm386 loaded will cause that error. You will need to clean boot to dos to use Uniflash with nothing else loaded apart from command.com. First in windows make a folder called 'update' and unzip uniflash and the bios update to that folder. Then shutdown, you won't need the floppy disk now.
When you first switch on the pc and the bios screen appears keep on pressing F8 until the Win98 startup menu appears. Then hold down shift and press F8, select 'command prompt only' from the menu and then keep pressing 'n' on the keyboard until you get to the command prompt. This will ensure nothing else is loaded.
Type 'cd update' and then type 'uniflash w6156ims.160'
Then select 'Flash bios image to flash rom' when finished exit and turn off PC. Switch the PC back on keep pressing the 'del' key on the keyboard to enter the bios. In the Bios select 'Load Setup Defaults' then save and exit.

Perfect, thanks very much for your help! I've just successfully flashed with your steps above. Slight issue when I did boot where it hung on bios, but removed the battery, waited a few mins, then working fine, setup the HDD and a few other options and in Windows right now.

The primary goal was HDD support over the limited 32GB I had - I'm using a 20GB 2.5 SATA with IDE converter, so going to go for a bigger HDD and do a fresh installation.

I might as well bump up the CPU as feel the 550Mhz P3 is a bit of a bottleneck with the Voodoo 3, which just leads me to a question about CPU support, if I can ask of your good knowledge on this board?

The BIOS info for 1.6 mentions Coppermine support up t 800Mhz with 100/133 FSB, is this what I'm limited to in terms of clock speed? Slot 1 CPUs are through the roof in price, I take it I can use a socket 370 counterpart via a slotket?

Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 10 of 24, by Riikcakirds

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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-04, 10:14:

The BIOS info for 1.6 mentions Coppermine support up t 800Mhz with 100/133 FSB, is this what I'm limited to in terms of clock speed? Slot 1 CPUs are through the roof in price, I take it I can use a counterpart via a slotket?

Slotkets work, it will support coppermine up to 1.1ghz, I run a 1ghz PIII EB version (7.5x133). The board doesn't support 133mhz front side bus so it automatically runs it at 7.5x100mhz, 750mhz.
Make sure you get a non PIII-EB CPU (133FSB) if you want to reach 1ghz(10x100fsb).

Reply 11 of 24, by AlexZ

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I wouldn't touch those capacitors until they start bulging or you get significant instability.

Check that your board supports voltage lower than 1.8V.

  • If yes go for 1Ghz PIII clocked at 750Mhz as advised above. PIII 1000E is rare. Alternatively you can buy PIII 900E. Celeron clocked at 950Mhz will perform as PIII 700Mhz.
  • If board supports 1.8V max you could still risk it as it isn't that far off from 1.75V used by 1Ghz PIII.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 12 of 24, by snufkin

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From the photos, looks like Vcore is controlled by an SC1152, datasheet here: https://pdf1.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/v … H/SC1152CS.html

That says the lowest it supports is 1.8V, but it also says that any Vid not specifically listed will cause a shutdown. So if the CPU asks for 1.75V then there's a chance it just won't start up.

Reply 13 of 24, by AlexZ

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That means he will need a slotket with voltage jumpers to fool the board into thinking the CPU needs 1.8V. Or just get the fastest PIII Katmai 600Mhz for a 10% performance increase.

Katmai 600Mhz should be able to play games up to year 2000 after turning down details a bit.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 14 of 24, by DrLucienSanchez

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Thanks for all you messages.

I had instability with the flash, Windows locking up, sometimes BIOS would hang when checking the RAM on post - I used another good stick to see if the RAM was bad, it did the same thing - so I've flashed back to the backup AMI BIOS that I made earlier, and everything is back to normal stability, although back to 32GB HDD and a max CPU of Katmai 600Mhz. I'm fine with 550Mhz though, and the prices are getting high on Slot 1.

I've ordered a P4S533 mobo cheap from fleabay which has a universal AGP slot, so can use my 3.3v Voodoo 3, and may use a Northwood as I have one spare at 2.53Ghz, or may pop in a slower Willamette if that's a bit too fast, and keep it close to Pentium III performance.

Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 15 of 24, by AlexZ

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32GB limit is not too critical as you can use two HDDs.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 16 of 24, by DrLucienSanchez

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AlexZ wrote on 2022-04-08, 20:12:

32GB limit is not too critical as you can use two HDDs.

I thought I'd give it another try today, but use the ZX BIOS instead. Flashed successfully (again), booted, set the BIOS to defaults, set HDD within BIOS, booted into Windows, left for a few mins, no freezing, benched Unreal and 3DMark 99 a few times, no issues, played music etc, restarted the computer a few times, cold booted, no hang ups on BIOS.

Now I believe that there would be no significant differences between ZX and BX, as confirmed by Riikcakirds, so was confused to why it worked this time; turns out the BIOS was not at fault, it was the 320GB HDD I was using, it was partitioned at 120GB for 98, BIOS recognised the drive, when on the previous AMI BIOS, it would hang at anything over 32GB, so I assumed it was fine to use, so it must be flaky with large HDDs and unstable.

So currently on my 20GB drive, perfect, I need more space and don't want a second drive as too much clutter with the SATA/IDE converters, so I plan on using Seatools for DOS to properly limit the 320GB drive.

I'm going for a 1Ghz Celeron Coppermine on a slotket, cheap as chips and should be a nice boost to what i have now, at least from what I can see on philscomputerlab benchmark unsung this CPU.

Thanks everyone. I've been on and off trying to find a better BIOS, better CPU support for this board for a year now and pleased it can be put to rest!

Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 17 of 24, by PARKE

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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-09, 10:47:

I'm going for a 1Ghz Celeron Coppermine on a slotket, cheap as chips and should be a nice boost to what i have now, at least from what I can see on philscomputerlab benchmark unsung this CPU.

There are two unmentioned aspects to consider.
The VRM 8.2 type voltage regulator on early BX boards was designed to support 16 amps while the later Coppermine supporting VRM 8.4 type supports 22.8 amps. Running a Celeron 1000 on an early VRM may put more stress on the system than what it was designed for.
You can read details on this aspect here:
http://duhvoodooman.com/powrleap/lfl/slot-t_1.htm

Also consider that you need a beefy heatsink on the Celeron 1000, they tend to run hot. I use something like this:

ro-sink.jpg
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And some extra airflow over the VRM section will not hurt either.
Also beware that you need a slotket that supports Coppermine - there are many out there that don't.

Reply 18 of 24, by DrLucienSanchez

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PARKE wrote on 2022-04-09, 12:41:
There are two unmentioned aspects to consider. The VRM 8.2 type voltage regulator on early BX boards was designed to support 16 […]
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DrLucienSanchez wrote on 2022-04-09, 10:47:

I'm going for a 1Ghz Celeron Coppermine on a slotket, cheap as chips and should be a nice boost to what i have now, at least from what I can see on philscomputerlab benchmark unsung this CPU.

There are two unmentioned aspects to consider.
The VRM 8.2 type voltage regulator on early BX boards was designed to support 16 amps while the later Coppermine supporting VRM 8.4 type supports 22.8 amps. Running a Celeron 1000 on an early VRM may put more stress on the system than what it was designed for.
You can read details on this aspect here:
http://duhvoodooman.com/powrleap/lfl/slot-t_1.htm

Also consider that you need a beefy heatsink on the Celeron 1000, they tend to run hot. I use something like this:
ro-sink.jpg
And some extra airflow over the VRM section will not hurt either.
Also beware that you need a slotket that supports Coppermine - there are many out there that don't.

Thanks, very insightful information, just why I love this community.

Unfortunately I started to get instability again, cold booted, and BIOS hung, booted again, said primary HDD failed (it hadn't). So back to AMI BIOS, 32GB HDD and 550Mhz, alas, it's just not meant to be!

I didn't know it would run hot in all honesty, also expected all the SlotKets on ebay (about three of them) to just work, so best it didn't work out, as if it did, my wallet would've suffered a little.

Fingers crossed the P4S533 will work fine when I get it.

Thanks everyone for your help nonetheless.

Classic rig - MS6156 Ver 1.0 Bx7 Slot1 Motherboard - Pentium II Deschutes 400Mhz, 320MB PC100 RAM, 20GB SATA Toshiba 2.5 via IDE/SATA converter, Intel i740 8Mb AGP, Sun Microsystems 16" CRT Monitor - PN17J0 CRT monitor

Reply 19 of 24, by AlexZ

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That is true. MS-6156 seems to list PII 450 as max. The PIII 550 he is using may be above the design current limit. This limitation didn't apply to boards that officially supported PIII 600 Katmai as it had similar current draw as PIII 900E. Given this information the best option would be to downclock PIII 1Ghz to 750Mhz using 100Mhz FSB as at that frequency current draw will be only slightly higher than PII 450 and below 16 Amp. Celeron 1000 will be about as fast as PIII 750 anyway.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS